Weekly Pulse #3: March 18th – 24th

Mark Vermeulen, 2 min read
Last Updated: 25 March, 2024

weekly pulse #3

Cryptocurrency Markets Weekly Recap

Bitcoin Price Fluctuates

Bitcoin had a volatile week, dropping heading into Wednesday’s FOMC meeting before spiking, only to fall again later. The BTC price oscillated between approximately $60,000 and $66,000 as heavy selling pressure from Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which saw $643 million in outflows on Monday alone, impacted markets. With less than a month until Bitcoin’s next halving, anticipation of higher volatility has emerged even as predictions call for eventual calm.

Ethereum Foundation Faces Inquiry

The Ethereum Foundation revealed this week that an unnamed government regulator has opened a voluntary inquiry. This comes amid growing pessimism about Ethereum ETF approvals, as the SEC seemingly avoids engagement with potential issuers and may seek to classify Ether as a security. According to ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, the odds of Ethereum ETF approval by the May deadline are just 25% currently.

BlackRock Launches Tokenized ‘BUIDL’ Fund

BlackRock, the massive asset manager, continued its pivot towards cryptocurrencies by unveiling its on-chain “BUIDL” treasury fund this week. Requiring a hefty minimum investment, BUIDL will issue monthly dividend tokens to investor wallets in an effort to bridge traditional and digital finance. Major entities like Coinbase, BNY Mellon, and PricewaterhouseCoopers are assisting the initiative, issued via tokenization platform Securitize. BlackRock said client interest in crypto beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum is very limited.

Japan’s Pension Fund Eyes Bitcoin

Investment Japan’s massive Government Pension Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest with over $1.5 trillion in assets, is exploring Bitcoin investment alongside other “illiquid” assets. This represents a significant step towards mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin as a viable asset class for major institutional investors, potentially setting the stage for other pension funds. The timing coincides with Japan’s first interest rate hike in 17 years amid 40-year high inflation, highlighting Bitcoin’s narrative as an inflation hedge. Still, this remains the exploratory phase rather than active investment.

Legacy Markets Weekly Recap

Stocks Surge on Central Bank Policy Shifts

Stocks rallied this week, posting their strongest performance so far this year, as major central banks signaled a dovish tilt towards more accommodative monetary policies. The MSCI global stock index rose over 2%, with the S&P 500 index also gaining over 2% and European equities seeing noteworthy increases.

Key Policy Shifts Revive Investor Sentiment

This optimistic investor sentiment follows hints of possible stimulus measures like interest rate cuts from central banks, including the Federal Reserve, to bolster economic expansion. The Fed’s latest meeting raised hopes for a soft landing of the US economy, further fueled by unexpected easing from the Swiss National Bank and a dovish shift by the Bank of England. This collective central bank stance revived market interest, lifting equities and government bonds as fears of a potential recession now appear to be abating.

Dollar Defies Expectations with Strong Gains

The US dollar index logged its best week in two months despite growing expectations for Fed rate cuts. This dollar strength has been attributed to weaknesses in other currencies like the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, along with speculation that other central banks may cut rates before the Fed.

Upcoming Events

Key events next week include speeches by Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and ECB officials.

Mark Vermeulen

A native of the Netherlands with a degree in finance, Mark has emerged as an avid crypto enthusiast and expert. His dedication to blockchain technology and bitcoin adoption has made him the driving force behind the Dutch content of Ecoinomy. Mark's adventure began during college, where his passion for decentralized finance quickly caught his eye. His ability to simplify complex concepts around crypto has earned him prestige among Dutch investors and far beyond.